Prospect Park South Historic District
The Prospect Park South Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Prospect Park South Historic District is located in the center of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. The Prospect Park South Historic District comprises all or part of fifteen blocks and incorporates the entire real estate development known as Prospect Park South. The boundaries of the Prospect Park South Historic District are the same as those designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Prospect Park South is a homogeneous area consisting of 203 large single-family houses set within gardens. These houses were designed in a large number of styles, reflecting the eclecticism of the period. The majority of buildings are Colonial Revival in style, but examples of the Queen Anne, neo-Tudor, neo-Elizabethan, Italian Villa, French Gothic, Swiss Chalet, Japanese, and other modes also appear. A few houses in the Prospect Park South Historic District date from the post-World War I period. Most of these were designed to fit into the context of the neighborhood. All of the streets in the area are landscaped and two streets, Albemarle Road and Buckingham Road, contain central garden malls. The houses of Prospect Park South are larger than those of the surrounding area and they are architecturally more distinguished. There are only nine intrusions in the Prospect Park South Historic District.
Albemarle Road is one of the two major streets in the Prospect Park South Historic District. The street has central garden malls and some of the area's largest houses. Typical of the street are the following houses: Number 1325, a large neo-Elizabethan style stone house built c.1912 and now used as a church; Numbers 1423 and 1501, Queen Anne style houses designed by John J. Petit in 1899 and 1904; Number 1519, an unusual brick and shingle house with a low horizontal massing and neo-Jacobean caryatides and panel details; Number 1510, John J. Petit's mansion (1900) which is the grandest Colonial Revival style house in the Prospect Park South Historic District. Among the notable houses on Argyle Road are Number 79, designed in 1903 and exhibiting elements of Swiss and American Colonial architecture combined to form a particularly picturesque composition; Number 208, architect Charles Werner's Colonial Revival style gambrel-roofed residence built in 1911; and Number 183, the finest example of neo-Tudor architecture in the Prospect Park South Historic District, designed in 1907 by John J. Petit. Buckingham Road has some of the largest and most prestigious houses in the district, including: Number 120, designed in 1900 by John J. Petit and showing the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement in its simplification of forms and details; Number 131, designed in 1902 in the Japanese style by Petit & Green; and Number 143, a large brick residence designed in 1906 by Walter Cassin combining the massing of the picturesque Italian Villa style of the mid-nineteenth century with turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival features. Marlborough Road features Number 112, a romantic eccentrically massed Queen Anne style house designed by John J. Petit in 1899; Number 187, a fine example of the neo-Tudor style designed in 1900 by Woodruff Leeming; and Number 215, a French Gothic style house designed in 1901 by Petit. Notable along Rugby Road are Number 94, an unusual Spanish Mission style house designed by John J. Petit in 1907; John J. Petit's Swiss chalet (1900), which is among the most picturesque and unexpected houses in the Prospect Park South Historic District; and Number 154, which was designed in 1900 and is an elegant example of Petit's Colonial Revival style houses. Stratford Road features Number 156, a Colonial Revival style temple-front house built in 1905 to the design of George Hitchings; and Number 185, designed in 1901 by John J. Petit, which juxtaposes Colonial forms in a manner that foreshadows the post-modern movement of the late twentieth century. Westminster Road features Number 144, a historically correct Colonial Revival house designed by Benjamin F. Hudson in 1910.
Prospect Park South is the finest of the real estate developments that transformed southern Brooklyn from a rural farming area to a wealthy suburban community at the turn of the century. Prospect Park South was laid out in 1899 by real estate developer Dean Alvord who sought "to create a rural park within the limitations of the conventional city block and city street." The streets are lined with large freestanding houses designed in a great variety of styles. There is a tremendous coherence to the area. In addition to the architecture, Prospect Park South has notable landscape features including central garden malls. Some of the houses are also associated with people of national and local importance including Elmer Sperry, who invented the gyrocompass while living at 100 Marlborough Road; Herman Dowhler, the inventor of modern die casting, who lived at 84 Rugby Road; and Dr. Frederick Kolle, a pioneering radiologist, who lived at 131 Buckingham Road.
Working with Dean Alvord in the development of Prospect Park South was architect John J. Petit (1870-1923). Petit drew up the overall specifications for the houses in the area, and he was also responsible for many of the designs.